July 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Organized & Clutter Free: I’ve Been Looking for This!

A funny thing happens when a professional organizer is called into a home to assist with de-cluttering and organizing. All of the sudden, items that were forgotten or lost begin to reappear. I would like to share some highlights of 2015 and what I’ve helped my clients recover from right under their noses.

Over the summer I uncovered a blank, unaddressed envelope in a bedroom bookcase filled with $380.00 in cash. Other professional organizers have told me that they have found thousands of dollars in cash in their clients’ homes. This is a typical phenomenon for homeowners who want to safely hide their cash so well that six months later they cannot remember where they put it. Soon it drops off their radar as if they never had it. Seriously, would you take $380.00 and throw it away? I think not. So, let’s get realistic about our hiding places.

A new client had informed me that in my work with a family member I may uncover some jewelry that was declared missing years ago. After working in the home for several weeks, I did locate the jewelry, and it was significant! Where did I find it? Inside a hope chest in a bedroom, tucked in between brand-new sheets that were never opened. Seriously!

The same excitement for locating lost cash and jewelry holds true for the package of sewing needles, calligraphy pens, house keys and favorite recipe books. I found a missing birth certificate, passport, and am on the lookout for a deed to a vacation home that I am confident I will find.

I found a steam iron buried under tools in a basement. When I showed it to the client, she said that she lost the iron so she went out and bought a new one. The lost one was still working so she spent unnecessary money on an iron that she did not need. Multiply that by all the items that professional organizers uncover in their daily work and you have a lot of wasted dollars spent by consumers who may already be in debt.

In many homes I’ve found packages that were sitting on shelves unopened from 10 years back, dozens of boxes of food, cans and health and beauty aids that were purchased on sale and never opened. By the time I get in the picture, all the products have been expired for at least 2-10 years. I recently located a sealed over-the-counter medication that had expired in 1999. Many clients argue that the expiration date is a drug company’s recommendation only, but in this case I did not have to argue with them about throwing it out. After all, sixteen years is a long time past the expiration date.

During many closet reorganization sessions, I have found missing shoes, blouses and dresses that were bunched in the back corner of the closet, only to be uncovered when we emptied every item out to organize. Whenever clients hesitate to utilize my services because they say they cannot afford it or it’s not in their budget, I ask them to think again. I share with them the experience I have with clients who overspend and do not use the items, the saddest of them all being closets filled with clothes with the tags still on them and the clothing is now outdated or does not fit.

And finally, there are the multiple sets of “good” dishes and fine crystal that everyone saves for the special occasion, and one day when the organizer comes knocking they realize that the dishes have never been used.

My recommendation is to wear those clothes within days of bringing them home from the store. Use the good dishes and crystal; enjoy using them even if it’s for a meal for one. Life is too short to save them for the special occasions. Isn’t every day special? And if you don’t use them, donate them to a family who will use them and enjoy them. They are not doing any good collecting dust in your cabinets.

Happy Organizing!

Eileen Bergman is a professional organizer and a proud member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). Eileen may be reached at 973 303 3236 or [email protected].

By Eileen Bergman

 

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